Oh Melancolia

I should probably just wait until I have something to say about this song, but I should probably just not say anything. This song is an incredible work of art. This song is a poem. This song is what melancholy is; sad yet hopeful.

Silvio Rodriguez, “Oh Melancolia”:

Lyrics in English and Spanish;

Oh Melancholy

 
Today damsel loneliness comes to me,
sporting her straw hat lorgnette and poppy bud,
in her soft sway.
Today the fickle young lady is friendly
and delicately caresses my heart
with her most slender icy touch.
And so, today I politely invite you to stroll
through the garden to that florid pavilion.
The tree my grandparents once planted.
Today, my daydream is like moss on the curbstone,
sketching the depths of love,
melancholy, subtle, pale, sky.
She comes to me, she advances, so slowly.
She comes dancing lightly through space.
I give myself over, I languish and then soar like a bird.
The vessel sways, lingering like chiffon
in the soft breeze, girl from the blue.
Oh, melancholy, silent bride, yesterdays intimate partner;
oh, melancholy, fortunate lover, you always overcome me with pleasure;
oh, melancholy, mistress of time, kiss that returns like the tide;
oh, melancholy, scented flower, tell me where will I find my love?
Silvio Rodriguez

Oh Melancolia

Hoy viene a mi la damisela soledad
con Pamela y pertinentes y botón
y amapola en el oleaje de sus vuelos
hoy la voluble señorita es amistad
y acaricia finamente el corazón
con su más delgado pétalo de hielo.
Por eso hoy
gentilmente te convido a pasear
por el patio hasta el florido pabellón
de aquel árbol que plantaron los abuelos
hoy el ensueño es como el musgo en el brocal
dibujando los abismos de un amor
melancólico, sutil, pálido cielo.

Viene a mi, avanza,
viene tan despacio
viene en una danza
leve del espacio
cedo me hago lacio
y ya vuelo ave
se mece la nave
lenta como el tul
en la brisa suave
niña del azul.

Oh melancolía, novia silenciosa,
intima pareja del ayer
oh melancolía, amante dichosa,
siempre me arrebata tu placer
oh melancolía, señora del tiempo,
beso que retorna como el mar
oh melancolía, rosa del aliento,
dime quien me puede amar.

Hoy viene a mi la damisela soledad
con Pamela y pertinentes y botón
y amapola en el oleaje de sus vuelos
hoy la voluble señorita es amistad
y acaricia finalmente el corazón
con su más delgado pétalo de hielo.
Por eso hoy
oh melancolía, señora del tiempo,
beso que retorna como el mar
oh melancolía, rosa del aliento,
dime quien me puede amar.

Other posts about Silvio’s music:

My Blue Unicorn

10 thoughts on “Oh Melancolia

  1. I can’t believe you actually put this up!, I was just thinking about this song not too long agao. Haven’t heard it in so long. I agree it’s absolutely masterful. It’s not the same topic or even tone really, but something about this song always reminds of Salvatore Adamo’s “Es Mi Vida” and Ruben Blades’ “Maestra Vida”. I don’t know, I guess I just like the beautifully poetic view of certain things.

      • wait! Didn’t mean anything bad by it. Just thought since you are very young, I mean, is not what the new generation listens to that’s all. I’m glad you listen to stuff like this. its kinda sad beautiful songs like this one will get lost in time with the few of my generation that still want to be part of it.

  2. No offense taken. Yeah I guess in hindsight it is a bit strange. But this is the kind of stuff I grew up one. My iPod is filled with old school merengue, salsa, boleros and such, basically whatever my parents used to play in the house that managed to burrow into my brain. I guess you can say I’m like that with a lot of stuff.

    I agree, it’s a shame that a lot of amazing songs such as this one are just going to waft away into oblivion as time presses on. Not to me though, these songs bring way too many memories back for me to forget them. To say it in a way too overdramatic sense, they’re a part of me.

  3. Titi this is my favorite song from Silvio its magical and guess what – I was listening to it this morning on my way to work and now I get home and see this post – How weird! Love it!

  4. Thank you my friends. Both of you. I guess this blog wouldn’t really have a meaning if it weren’t for you both that read every post. Tonight has been very special. I will post another song that has marked this night and made it into one unforgettable night for ever.

  5. Thank you for this beautiful translation of these lyrics – it’s lovely, and conveys the feeling and the poetry in a way I wouldn’t have thought possible in English. I’ve loved Silvio, Pablo and all those great “nueva cancioneros” for more than 25 years, and this song, one of my favorites, stole back into my life almost by accident, just when I needed to hear it. Gracias!

    • No, please thank you for leaving a comment and sharing your passion for Silvio with us. This translation is by no means my credit, it comes on a Silvio CD that I had borrowed from a family member a while back. I fell in love with the poetry. Like you, I think there is no other translation that can compare it. I feel lucky to have found it.
      Thank you again for you comment🙂

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